For the last 5-6 years my dad and I have been making Ciopinno for Christmas dinner. Not being Italian I am not sure exactly how this tradition started but it was a one time thing that ended up sticking around.
With Christmas usually being just the two of us this is a great one-pot meal which is uncomplicated but fancy enough for company. This Christmas my mum flew in from California and my brother and his son from Japan so our family gathering almost tripled! Thankfully there is always enough Ciopinno to go around and then some.
I don’t love all of Giada De Laurentiis’ meals but this one is a keeper. To the point and delicious.
Don’t forget to pick up a loaf of crusty bread to go along side of it.
From Giada De Laurentiis
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 large shallots, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
5 cups fish stock
1 bay leaf
1 pound manila clams, scrubbed
1 pound mussels, scrubbed, debearded
1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 pounds assorted firm-fleshed fish fillets such as halibut or salmon, cut into 2-inch chunks
Heat the oil in a very large pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, shallots, and salt and saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and 3/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and saute 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add tomatoes with their juices, wine, fish stock and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the flavors blend, about 30 minutes.
Add the clams and mussels to the cooking liquid. Cover and cook until the clams and mussels begin to open, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and fish. Simmer gently until the fish and shrimp are just cooked through, and the clams are completely open, stirring gently, about 5 minutes longer (discard any clams and mussels that do not open). Season the soup, to taste, with more salt and red pepper flakes.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.
Yet another delicious Christmas at the Plants, or the Poinsettias as a friend dubbed us (get it? Holiday Plants!)
I’ll leave you with this photo of my dad’s pup, Arrow, guarding the Christmas tree. Happy Holidays!
(Note my dad’s fancy Christmas gift tags, aka post-it notes)